News Belgian monks round on supermarket for selling their brew at £9 a bottle

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by HeilanCoo, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. HeilanCoo

    HeilanCoo Initiate (46) Sep 11, 2014 North Carolina

    Article in The Guardian

    Even at £9 a bottle, beer from Saint Sixtus abbey was flying off the supermarket shelves. Until the monks found out.

    Angry Trappists from the 19th-century Cistercian monastery in Westvleteren, west Flanders, have accused the Dutch supermarket brand Jan Linders of a breach of their “ethical values” for selling the brew.
     
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  2. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (9,517) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    That's a great article, I'm glad to hear the monks spoke up. I wonder what they'd think about the grey market in the United States with cans of Heady Topper selling for as high as $16 in some markets. And let's be honest, their own beer is selling for more than 9 Euros (British pounds?) in many places. I remember seeing it for 11 in Rome, and I'm not even sure which one that was.
     
    #2 NeroFiddled, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  3. JimKal

    JimKal Zealot (514) Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    Yes, but L9 is 10.14 Euros. I like beer but both are way to much for a beer.
     
  4. Oceanbear1

    Oceanbear1 Initiate (178) Aug 8, 2013 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I'm confused, why are the cracking down on this one store? last time I was in Belgium their beer was being sold second hand all over. Seems like they would have their work cut out for them if they wanted to try and reel in the second hand market, which I know is against their request/rules
     
  5. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (5,839) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    The discovery, then, that the Jan Linders supermarket chain, without the permission or knowledge of the abbey, had been selling three types of the renowned beer at about five times the price charged by the monks caused considerable dismay.
     
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  6. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,090) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I don't understand why people were lining up for this. You can find Westy at shops throughout Belgium for not too much more than 9 Euros. Maybe a bit more, but it's around. It's harder to find in Brussels than other cities, but not that much harder.
     
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  7. HeilanCoo

    HeilanCoo Initiate (46) Sep 11, 2014 North Carolina

    Is this supermarket chain in Belgium?
     
  8. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,090) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Apparently. The article mentions they got their hands on 300 cases and sold out in a few hours, so I'm guessing it was just one branch. That may not be correct though.
     
  9. BenBreeg

    BenBreeg Meyvn (1,055) Mar 18, 2014 Belgium
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    No, it's in The Netherlands....
     
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  10. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,090) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    The article says it's a Dutch chain, but the byline of the story is Brussels. Do you know what city these beers were sold in?
     
  11. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,459) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    There is an additional complexity/critical factor not being included in the article. For a personal purchase, at the time of purchase at the Abbey, and by making the purchase, the original buyer agrees the beer is for personal consumption and not for resale. I’d say that does make it an ethical issue both to sell (and to buy) the Westvleteren beers at other than the Abbey designated places.

    The Chain apparently did not buy the beer from the Abbey and was not a reseller designated by the Abbey. They then called attention to themselves with a public advertisement of the sale. Intentionally or not, the Chain created their own ethical issue.
     
    #11 drtth, Mar 14, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  12. skeevn

    skeevn Initiate (127) Sep 25, 2016 Belgium
    Beer Trader

    a LOT of webshops offer westvleteren (belgian and outside)
    a LOT of retailshops sell westvleteren (belgian / some in silence cause they want their respected status to hold and badmouth the ones that do <<< hypocrits.... and outside)
    a LOT of bars sell Westvleteren (all over the world)

    jan linders makes promotion and all hell breaks lose while "everyone" knows where to find(or with a little searching) westvleteren in webshops, retails and bars .... (for a long time allready)

    also the beer sold in the cafe near the monastry wich is the "only one" who is eligable to , wv12 costs (45/24) 1.875€ (at the monastry) and for this wv12 they charge 5+ ....
     
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  13. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,171) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Did I miss where only loyal customers were being offered sales of the beer? From the article it seems to me that any person off the street could have come in and purchased their two bottles. Corporate BS it seems.
    Unidentified suppliers. This cracks me up a bit.
    Good intentions to who? Certainly not the abbey. And if they respected the exclusivity of the beer they would have never done this in the first place.
     
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  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,545) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    I took note from the post of @skeevn of:

    “a LOT of webshops offer westvleteren (belgian and outside)
    a LOT of retailshops sell westvleteren (belgian / some in silence cause they want their respected status to hold and badmouth the ones that do <<< hypocrits.... and outside)
    a LOT of bars sell Westvleteren (all over the world)”

    Are those “lots” of web shops/retail shops/bars authorized to sell Westvleteren beers?

    Will the monks make public statements to the above of a breach of their “ethical values” for selling the brew?

    Cheers!
     
  15. BenBreeg

    BenBreeg Meyvn (1,055) Mar 18, 2014 Belgium
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    As mentioned above, the only place that is authorised to sell westvleteren is 'In De Vrede'.
     
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  16. Ranbot

    Ranbot Zealot (512) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I respect the monks desire to provide their local community with excellent beer at a fair price. Despite being someone who generally favors free market economies, I think anybody who signs an agreement with the monks not to resell the beer and does that anyway is on extremely shaky ethical grounds [and maybe legal, but I'm going to try to play lawyer]. It's a written agreement, signed and sworn before an agent of God, and they defy it... that's a big ethical leap from our usual discussions of reselling beer obtained through typical commercial outlets. Shame on Westvleteren resellers and shame on their buyers for supporting them.

    I mentioned in another thread, but I'll repost the idea here (not verbatim) that I noticed this in the Guardian article:

    "...Trappists of Westvleteren do not pursue profit maximisation, they only produce as much beer as is necessary to provide for their livelihood. All the profits made go to the abbey charity.”

    It's nice of the monks to offer their local community with excellent beer at a fair price, but is that really the best service they can provide to their community?* Maybe if the monks managed their beer with some free market policies they would reap more profits that they could direct to needed local or international charities. I trust monks to only take what they need and distribute the remaining profits fairly to others in need. Maybe the monks are being short-sighted and stubbornly not using their God-given gifts to do the most good they can possibly do.

    * - Apart from saving souls from eternal damnation, of course. :innocent:
     
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  17. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,907) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I remember somewhere the monks have only a certain amount of time to brew beer among their other scheduled activities and that's one of the limitations on their annual beer production.

    If they really wanted to cash out I suppose they could sell to InBev but that would hardly be monkish behavior.
     
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  18. JBogan

    JBogan Champion (842) Jul 15, 2007 California

    Or begin referring to themselves as The Westvleterhoppers and start brewing a cloudy IPA to be sold across the street at In de Haze.
     
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  19. surfcaster

    surfcaster Champion (825) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Let's not judge the monks and leave them be......